Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Pedro's Thread on Armour in the Islamic World Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2019 1:19 am    Post subject: Pedro's Thread on Armour in the Islamic World         Reply with quote

I am starting a new thread to avoid derailing the thread by Jeton Osmani http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=37987

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
Yes, Pedro, today there are whole wheeled racks of Ottoman armour in Istanbul, there is so much that some of it is rusting away. And keep in mind that a favourite kind of Central European cavalry helmet in the 16th/17th century, the zischägge, was copied from the Ottomans!


That`s doesn`t prove much in terms of how proportionally well armoured the Ottomans Armies would be; perhaps the Porte simply stocked armor or preserved it in a single deposit, the thing is that all the sources point out to the fact that ottoman infantry and the Akinji light cavalry (which composed the larger part of the army) was entirely unarmoured, except perhaps for helmets.

That depends on the period.

Rhoads Murphey, Ottoman Warfare, pp. 35, 36 wrote:

"Until the start of the sixteenth century the Ottoman military establishment was dominated by the freelance light cavalry or akinci forces who offered their services to the state in exchange for the lion's share of the disposable war booty. As late as the reign of Mehmed II (1451-1481) these cavalry 'raiders' numbered as many as 50,000, and it took some time for their number to dwindle to the vestigal numbers recorded by Ottoman commentators in the early seventeenth century such as Koçi Bey. During the sixteenth century, however, ... military provision became the nearly exclusive preserve of two groups: the seasonally-mobilized, provincial cavalry supported by timar land grants, and the sultan's permanent, standing, cash-paid, armed forces (both infantry and cavalry, but predominantly infantry) called the kapu kulu (lit' 'servitors of the [palace] gate', or household troops)."


Between 1396 and 1527 the Ottomans became the strongest family west of China, so they did not need to accept anyone with a horse and a weapon any more (and now that they had the best bureaucracy and financial system west of China, accepting a lot of volunteers would have just made it harder to figure out how many camel-loads of hardtack and gunpowder the army needed). I was talking about Ottoman soldiers in the 1500s and 1600s because that is the period from which most mail and plate armour survives and that is the period which I have read books from academic presses on.

You quote several sources from the late 15th century, who describe Ottoman soldiers with the same equipment as ordinary Turkish herders in the 1100s or 1200s. In Europe in the 1100s and 1200s, they would have fought on foot and worn no armour either. But the rich men in Syria and Anatolia and Egypt, the kind who became milites in western Europe, wore armour. Just finding Frankish pictures of lightly-armed easterners does not help because some eastern troops were lightly armed and some were heavily armed just like in western Europe, and an artist could chose which to depict (and armies in Granada or Morocco were not the same as armies in Anatolia!)

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
I guess artistic evidence would usually point out that non-turkish muslim cavalry would wear lamellar or mail armor without the chausses, so they would generally be lighter except in cases were multiple types of armor were been worn altogether, like scale and lamellar over mail hauberks and so ... The Mamluks were known to wear themselves that way, though

We also have to remember that Muslims had a great apreciation for frankish mail; Saladin's close retainers were described using imported Frankish mails between the padded layers of their Jazerants.

By the 11th and 12th centuries I believe the andalusian cavalry was the most densenly armoured of the entire muslim world, Heath seens to agree with that. Things changed, however, when more radical north-african dynasties came to power, then the style of heavily armored cavalry between the andalusians and granadines start declining until they disapeared.


At the time of the First Crusade, most Franks did not wear mail hose either, and they did not have the extra layers of armour (eg. lamellar over a coat of mail) or linen armour which were known in Byzantine and Fatamid and Seljuk territory. I would be surprised if the most heavily armed Moslem cavalry were Andalusians, because it was the Near East and Central Asia which had the tradition of cataphracts and armoured horse archers. The Franks exported swords and armour to the eastern Romans and the dar-al Islam, but they imported most of their cotton from Anatolia, Syria, and Egypt: and no cotton would have meant no aketons/gambesons/pourpoints/jupes/jacks.

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Not exactly, the kind of people who went to war were better equipped than simply peasants and city commoners who were throwing rocks from walls and such. The English, for example, had a minimum standard for padded jacque, helmet, sword and buckler; in Portugal or Castille the low tier foot soldier had a spear and a sling, or just one of these, things like that. The sources of the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) I'm aware, though, says that the slingers were basically kids and teenagers sent to protect the wagoons of the army and were not expected to fight in the battle; some say there were rocks being thrown by the Portuguese, but it's likely that such stones were being shot by the spearmen themselves, since the sling was a sidearm for them (oddly enough, the Portuguese Spears were actually pikes; 2,5 times the size of an adult male).
In Wales, infantry often went to war without any sort of armor, but due to their fame as violent warriors, the English would just ship them to France with English ones, but receiving less than the most basically-equipped archer.

Yes, that is the problem! When you read an English muster roll with men with just staff and knife, those men would not get called up to fight overseas, but they would have to fight when the French landed or the Scots invaded. A lot of the dirty work in France was done by hangers-on and servants who had found some kind of a weapon: real soldiers did not respect them, but they could rob and rape and burn while the soldiers kept guard, and they were cheap. And often in local warfare, the half-armed poor and the guys with a big knife and a sack and a dream volunteer or are forced to come along. They hope to steal something but do not really expect to fight fully-equipped soldiers face to face.

This let someone with a message pick whoever they want as a typical enemy soldier: if they want to make the army look strong (or talk about other aristocrats) they pick the well-trained and determined soldier with expensive equipment, if they want to make it look weak they pick someone whose commander does not actually count as a soldier. (We actually have ancient sources which talk about this: they say if you capture some enemies who do not look very impressive, strip them and show them off to your soldiers before you sell them). So its very important to rely on indigenous sources and documents, and to look closely at what narrative and foreign sources are saying, why they are saying it, and whether it agrees with other evidence.

Ian Heath worked hard, but his book is quite old and I don't know if he can read Turkish and Arabic. Not many sources were available in translation when he wrote, and the work to unpick how western stereotypes distort our picture of the Near East was just beginning. I would recommend starting with more recent writers who read the languages and research in archives like Gabor Agoston, Rhoads Murphey, or David Nicolle.

www.bookandsword.com
View user's profile Send private message
Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 305

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2019 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: Pedro's Thread on Armour in the Islamic World         Reply with quote

Sorry to make you wait, I just discovered the topic yesterday evening
Sean Manning wrote:
Rhoads Murphey, Ottoman Warfare, pp. 35, 36 wrote:

"Until the start of the sixteenth century the Ottoman military establishment was dominated by the freelance light cavalry or akinci forces who offered their services to the state in exchange for the lion's share of the disposable war booty. As late as the reign of Mehmed II (1451-1481) these cavalry 'raiders' numbered as many as 50,000, and it took some time for their number to dwindle to the vestigal numbers recorded by Ottoman commentators in the early seventeenth century such as Koçi Bey. During the sixteenth century, however, ... military provision became the nearly exclusive preserve of two groups: the seasonally-mobilized, provincial cavalry supported by timar land grants, and the sultan's permanent, standing, cash-paid, armed forces (both infantry and cavalry, but predominantly infantry) called the kapu kulu (lit' 'servitors of the [palace] gate', or household troops)."


Between 1396 and 1527 the Ottomans became the strongest family west of China, so they did not need to accept anyone with a horse and a weapon any more (and now that they had the best bureaucracy and financial system west of China, accepting a lot of volunteers would have just made it harder to figure out how many camel-loads of hardtack and gunpowder the army needed). I was talking about Ottoman soldiers in the 1500s and 1600s because that is the period from which most mail and plate armour survives and that is the period which I have read books from academic presses on.


But the Akinji didn't stopped being present in massive numbers by 16th century, especially because turkish warlords who were mustered would bring this traditional sort of cavalrymen with them. A decisive evidence to this discussion would be numbers of both sipahis and akinci in battles, garrisons and musters of the period. I remember, however, that at the decisive encounter at Mohacs, akinci started the battle, while the prominence of the cavalry itself was in corps of local rumelian cavalry.
And since we talked about Rumelian Cavalry, it's interesting to notice that albanian and bosnian cavalry fought lightly armed (as you also had Stradioti in Italy by this period), while the serbian was known for his men-at-arms performance. So, before we actually speculating about how necessary it was for Ottomans to have heavy cavalry, we might never miss they actually had a resource pool for that.

But regarding the Sipahis: can we know if all the Porte's Sipahis had full armor for men and horse? Bertrand de la Broquerie says the Porte's Sipahis had (or at least it was their minimum equipment) mail habeurk, plate vambraces and different sorts of helmets. A guy sent this image in a very old topic about janissary armor and it does seen to be 16th century, since it mentions "muskets" and mentions janissaries not fighting at close quarters. Musket might be a mistranslation but it still seens to be something of at least mid 16th century:


I don't know how light the Janissary armor was supossed to be that time, but in Europe the first musketeers were recognized by the fact they didn't wear any armor, besides an helmet. Knowing the origins of this source could help a lot.

Quote:
You quote several sources from the late 15th century, who describe Ottoman soldiers with the same equipment as ordinary Turkish herders in the 1100s or 1200s. In Europe in the 1100s and 1200s, they would have fought on foot and worn no armour either.


Well, that's were you're wrong, at least by 1150 the serjants and other elite or quasi-feudal infantry or cavalry would have a mail shirt. The English Assize of Arms of 1181 would demand that categories that few bellow the knighthood also to wear armor: freeholders with hauberks and burghers and poor free farmers with gambeson. In fact, Heath discussed about that in the Armies and Enemies of the Crusaders and in Armies of Feudal Europe. By 1200, actually, most of the mounted serjeants would have the very same amount of equipment of the knights, so you can`t really do that statement.

Heath at Armies of Feudal Europe wrote:
By Henry II's 'Assize of Arms' of 1181 all - and only - freemen were to perform military service when required. They were divided for this purpose into 3 distinct categories: those holding knights' fiefs or possessing 16 marks of chattels or rents (who were to have the equipment of a knight); those possessing 10 marks of chattels or rents (who were to have haubergeon, helmet and spear); and burgesses and those freemen with less than 10 marks of chattels or rents. The man depicted is armed to comply with the requirements of the third category, who were expected to supply themselves with quilted wambais (gambeson), iron helmet and spear.


Heath at Armies of Feudal Europe wrote:
The 'Inquest of Bayeux' (1133) records that men holding less than a knight's fief were to serve mounted and armed with lance, shield and sword, but does not mention armour at all, while mss. often likewise show knights accompanied by men with only lance, shield, sword and helmet who are undoubtedly sergeants. Figure 17 wearing a red tunic and blue hose, depicts one such horseman. These unarmoured figures disappear from the sources by the middle of the 12th century. Thereafter only armoured horsemen appear, usually so little different from one another that his almost impossible to distinguish between sergeants and knights; it can only be surmised, therefore, that figures such as 18 and 19 (an Englishman from the Winchester Bible of c. 1150, and a Frenchman from an illustration of the Battle of Bouvines in Matthew Paris' mid-13th century 'Historia Majora'), equipped with incomplete or old-fashioned armour, represent sergeants. The short mail corselets they both wear are usually described as haubergeons (the diminutive of 'hauberk'), this being the regulation form of body-armour of sergeants in the Order of the Temple, whose 12th century 'Rule' also states that their corselet sleeves were to be without mittens and their chausses without foot-pieces, in addition to which they were to substitute an iron cap for a helmet. Being less well-armoured than knights, however, they were not expected to stick it out for as long on the battlefield, the 'Rule' actually stating that sergeants will have the gratitude of God and the Order if they fight well, but if they see they cannot endure or are wounded, they may withdraw without asking permission, and without punishment. However, this applied only to sergeants with little or no armour; those equipped like knights were expected to fight like knights.


Manning wrote:
But the rich men in Syria and Anatolia and Egypt, the kind who became milites in western Europe, wore armour. Just finding Frankish pictures of lightly-armed easterners does not help because some eastern troops were lightly armed and some were heavily armed just like in western Europe, and an artist could chose which to depict (and armies in Granada or Morocco were not the same as armies in Anatolia!)


I guess the cavalry of the syrians and egyptians were divided like the Andalusian ones, with light and heavy cavalry. Andalusian heavy cavalry was usually a little lighter than western one or basically identical, but I admit I don't remember any source showing or saying they overlap armor; Although the infantry did overlap mail and scale armor. My comment would be better understood (or corrected) in terms of how often the cavalry would wear armor, instead of the quantity of overlapping armor.

i answer the rest latter

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Pedro's Thread on Armour in the Islamic World
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2019 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum